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Global job markets are almost back to their pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Paris-based group reported that the jobless rate for OECD countries declined for the eighth straight month in December 2021, edging down to 5.4% from 5.5% in November.

The number of unemployed workers dropped by 0.7 million in December and is now just 0.5 million higher than before the pandemic hit.

As a result, the unemployment rate now sits just 0.1 percentage points above its pre-pandemic level, the OECD said.

For Europe, the unemployment rate was down in December, the OECD said, with a number of markets including France, Italy, Spain and Portugal back below their pre-pandemic levels.

For both Canada and the U.S., the jobless rate slipped in December, but both countries saw unemployment rise once again in January, the OECD noted, as the effects of the omicron variant hit economic activity.